The Gallipoli Campaign which began on 25th April 1915 was one of the biggest Allied defeats of World War One. Yet it stirred the imaginations and passions of many, evoking thoughts for some of the reconquest of the ancient Byzantine capital of Constantinople, and for Jewish and Arab nationalists of the establishment of independent nations.
The Gallipoli (or Dardanelles) Campaign was pivotal in the formation of the modern Middle East, as it ultimately resulted in the collapse of the 400-year-old Ottoman Turkish Empire, which led to the establishment of the Arab nations of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi Arabia – and the Jewish nation of Israel.
Gallipoli was the beginning of a road that led to Beersheba, Jerusalem and Damascus. Those military successes by the soldiers of the British Empire (assisted by Feisal and Lawrence), created the political environment of the establishment of those new national entities.
Even Winston Churchill sensed there was something significant about the Gallipoli Campaign, writing:
From the uttermost ends of the earth ships and soldiers are approaching or gathering in the Eastern Mediterranean in fulfilment of a destiny as yet not understood by mortal man…the arrival of the Anzacs in Egypt created the nucleus of the Army needed to attack the heart of the Turkish Empire. (Churchill, The World Crisis.)
The destinies of many nations were associated with Gallipoli, including Australia and New Zealand (the ANZACs) which fought their first battle there as sovereign nations.
This volume culminates with the capture of Jerusalem in December 1917 – a high point when compared to the carnage on the Western Front. A following volume will continue through to the capture of Damascus and the peace conference at San Remo in April 1920, when the foundations were laid for Israel and those Arab nations to come into existence.